Happy new year, dear blog readers! I hope you find lots of enjoyable books, new and old, to read in 2011!
I’ve enjoyed starting this blog in 2010: it’s been a fun way to meet new reader friends and keep me reading English-language fiction after a six-year stretch of reading mostly Russian-language novels. It’s nice to get caught up on the rest of the world! Here are some highlights from my 2010 reading:
Two favorite translated books: I read a lot of translated fiction, so couldn’t choose just one! I particularly enjoyed these two: Bragi Ólafsson’s The Ambassador (previous post), thanks to wonderfully absurd situations and references to Gogol’s “Overcoat,” and Alain Mabanckou’s one-sentence Broken Glass (previous post), thanks to its narrator’s storytelling, humor and irreverence. (These review copies came courtesy of, respectively, Open Letter and Soft Skull.)
Favorite book by a Maine writer: I still have a good feeling when I think of Ron Currie, Jr.’s, Everything Matters!, a thoroughly enjoyable novel about life under the threat of apocalypse. I loved it. (previous post)
Other favorite book written in English: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go starts slowly but builds momentum as it look at moral questions related to how we live and die. (I’m being vague here because I don’t want to reveal too much.) It’s beautifully put together, and the end is crushing. (previous post)
What’s on the way for 2011? I don’t make goals or resolutions for anything but I’m especially looking forward to a couple of review titles on the shelf: Copenhagen Noir, a collection of short stories, and Tim Davys’s Tourquai, a Swedish crime novel about stuffed animals. The books came from Akashic and Harper Collins, respectively.
I’m also looking forward to the Eastern Europe Reading Challenge that Amy is hosting on The Black Sheep Dances. I’m going to try to read something from every country on her list… Some countries – especially Russia – already have big presences on my shelves, but others, like Moldova and Latvia, will be new for me. I’m hoping the challenge will encourage me to finally read a few of the books that have been waiting in my bookcases for years, like Péter Nádas’s A Book of Memories and Josef Skvorecky’s The Miracle Game.
That’s it for this year! Thank you for all your visits and comments. I’ll be back again soon in 2011, whenever I finish Mathias Énard’s Zone, a book that takes some time. I enjoy it but the one-sentence structure requires considerable concentration, which results in short spurts of reading. Happy new year to all!